Guitarist & Bassist for the Heathen Apostles, The Cramps, Nick Curran & the Lowlifes

Chopper Franklin Bio

One of the last men standing from the notorious Los Angeles punk rock scene of the late 1970’s, Chopper Franklin plays guitar and mandolin for the Gothic Americana band Heathen Apostles and has played guitar and bass for The Cramps, the Mau Maus, Charley Horse, Nick Curran & the Lowlifes among others. He has produced several albums, mostly for his record label Ratchet Blade Records, which specializes in dark roots music. Chopper also writes and produces soundtrack scores and has directed several music videos. He is also being recognized as one of the driving forces behind the emerging Gothic Americana genre.

Chopper Franklin with Black Flag 1979

Chopper (left) with Black Flag 1979 (photo by Spot)

In 1979 at the age of 15 Scott ‘Chopper’ Franklin started living at the infamous Church, the punk rock mecca (and offices for SST Records) in Hermosa Beach, Ca. Home to Black Flag, Red Cross and the Minutemen (along with other bands and local punk rockers), he was soon roadying for Black Flag, learning guitar and bass and jamming with anybody that he could.

After the authorities broke up the nefarious goings-on at The Church, Chopper relocated to Hollywood, where he crossed paths with the infamous Rick Wilder, and began playing bass for the notorious punk rock outfit the Mau Maus. After four years, many riotous shows and a six song recording (with Robbie Krieger of the Doors producing, more on it later), he left to join the  trash rock outlaws the Joneses.

Chopper Franklin with the Mau Maus

The Mau Maus 1982

The influential album “Keeping Up With The Joneses” was recorded, a deal with Elektra Records came and went, and when Chopper relocated in New York City, he reconnected with Rick Wilder for some recordings. While there, Chopper founded and recorded the aggro-industrial outfit Murder In Exile.

Taking the new found technology of loops and samples, scorching rockabilly and country guitar, next up was Charley Horse, created in 1993 with vocalist Sean Wheeler (Throwrag) and producer Mickey Petralia (Beck, Rage Against the Machine). The record that would become “Unholy Roller” was recorded during this time, and a 7″ single of Back Down & We All Fall Down was released on Hellnote Records.

Chopper Franklin w/ The Cramps

Chopper w/ The Cramps

While performing at a Mr. Badwrench show (whose “Up Jumped the Devil” cd is available now on Chopper’s Ratchet Blade Records), Chopper met Lux Interior and Poison Ivy of the Cramps, eventually joining the band in 2002. He did several tours and recorded the final Cramps studio album “Fiends of Dope Island”.

Charley Horse got back together 2004, the US and Europe were toured, an album was recorded and a video for “Bad Ass Dad” was shot. In the end the band emerged with 10 more terrorizing titles that became 2009’s “Professional Sinners” (Ratchet Blade Records #716).

The Doghouse Lords were formed in 2008, Chopper joining with Javier ‘Jake’ Matos (Blue Shadows) on vocals, harmonica and guitar and members of the Blasters and the rockin’ blues cd “Diggin’ at the Doghouse” was released on Ratchet Blade Records. He followed this by producing the hellbilly/doom country band the Phantom of the Black Hill’s album “Born to Gun” in 2010 (he also produced the POTBH follow-ups, 2012’s ENEMY!, 2013’s Black Hearted Killer, 2014’s Moonshine Bright, 2016’s Scalped and 2021’s That Witch).

Chopper Franklin with Nick Curran

Chopper w/ Nick Curran

In 2011 Chopper joined the frantic rock n roll band Nick Curran & the Lowlifes, and began recording a new record in April of 2012. Chopper also released the first Mau Maus album “Scorched Earth Policies: Then & Now” on Ratchet Blade (RBR #717) in 2012; the album was comprised of both old and new recordings of their classic set.

Chopper formed a new project called the Heathen Apostles and released their debut album Boot Hill Hymnal (along with 2 videos) in 2013, and in the following years he has produced over 20 releases for the band and toured overseas several times.

Chopper Franklin with Heathen Apostles

Heathen Apostles

In 2017 Chopper’s Ratchet Blade Media launched (soon followed by and, known as the ultimate collective for the Gothic Western lifestyle.

In recent years, Chopper has produced the Phantom of the Black Hills album That Witch (2021), the Heathen Apostles’ Bloodgrass Vol. 3 & 4 (2022) and songs and score for the Gothic Western animated series The Goodbye Family.

In 2024 Chopper released Spaghetti Western Dub No. 1, a groundbreaking album that fuses the vast, arid landscapes of Spaghetti Western music and the heavy rhythms of Dub Reggae. It features vocals by Mather Louth and the Phantom of the Black Hills.